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Teams & MGMT300


Katzenbach and Smith think of a team “as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (Smith, 1992). This definition understands the concepts of a team as a provider of a critical lever of performance, this becomes very interesting through the way in which groups and teams are distinguishable from each other, where in some cases groups are understood as a collection of people working through mutual accord of each others roles. According to Katzenbach and Smith, “there is a proven link between teams, individual behavior change, and high-performance” (Smith, 1992).


This week in Management 300 we were placed into teams according to our CV applications and the goals and aspirations that we had put down. I think this is a very justifiable step in creating viable teams, but the concern tends to lie in the matter of whether the variables used to distinguish possible synchronization between students were accurate and consistent. The first question of whether the variables used to create the teams were viable is what I will tackle first. To create these groups the assessors chose to identify likely team members by the goal they had put down on their CV in which they wanted to accomplish from this course. In this category we were given 8 or so options, with an ‘other’, but this other was not expanded on. This places the question of whether people tended to bias one option over another for fear of judgment, or whether opted for an option listed rather than go for an ‘other’ which might have been their actual goal. The second category used to identify the individuals with the other students was through the score they had accomplished in the Mikes Bikes simulation. I think this can be very problematic as in many cases students might have reached the minimum requirement with luck, or without knowledge of what they are doing, this can mean that people who put in a lot of effort might not have reached the threshold, leading to them being placed in the wrong group.


I finally I think its important to look at the consistency of the categories and the way the groups were made. I think one fault or better to say a point of possible discourse would be the fact that people who got low marks were assumed to not putting enough effort, and where placed together in groups. I think this is not consistent with the overall method of placing people of likely goals together with a mixture of simulation scores.




Smith, J. R. (1992). Why Teams Matter. McKinsey Quarterly , 3-27.



1 Comment

  1. It's unfortunate that those tasked with giving your feedback did not. That happens sometimes as people chop and change courses at the start of semester.

    Looking at your prose, you tread a fine line at times: ideas such as "a critical lever of performance" are taken verbatim from Katzenbach and Smith, and you need cite them correctly. When you quote material you must include the page number and quotation marks.

    Moving to the content of your journal I am struck by a number of things. First, your opening paragraph loosely sets the scene about teams. Yet, what was it it meant to do; I am left wondering "So what?" How do you use Katzenbach and Smith's notion of teams (1992) in the rest of your learning journal. If you replaced that definition with any definition, would it make a difference your message in the rest of the journal? Likewise, if that first paragraph was missing, would it make a difference to your overall message? It is labeling (as I have mentioned before) and it is associated with the lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy (1956).

    Secondly, I suppose underpinning this, is the issue that you do not seem be using a framework to guide (and perhaps structure) your learning journal. There is little evidence either Daudelin's (1996) or Kolb's (1976) models of reflective/experiential learning. There is no sense of working an issue an through, say through some theorizing or application of theory.

    Finally, your last paragraph seems to be the 'meat' of your learning journal. One might interpret it as a start at setting up an experience; beginning some reflective observation, and some abstract conceptualization. But it is all too brief for you to meaningful demonstrate your learning. Why, for example, do you believe that consistency is important? As it stands, what you write reads more like opinion rather than a persuasive chain of logic leading to learning. But, if the last paragraph is your main point, how could it be any other way when it comprises two sentences.

    I think in future you need to (a) clearly articulate either the problem (Daudelin) or the concrete experience (Kolb), at the very start of your learning journal, and then move forward (through whichever framework you are using).

    More generally, you need to demonstrate that you are thinking through things more thoroughly. For example, you already have information about the challenges that arise when folk are unable to demonstrate a level of ability with the simulation on the page about MikesBikes Curriculum Vitae (CV). In summary, those who cannot demonstrate a level of ability start on the back-foot; they are likely to struggle to contribute at the same level as other team members who can 'work' the simulation. To make your journal more considered, you could bring those (known) challenges into your theorising and explore ways to address them. 



    Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook 1 Cognitive domain. New York: Longmans.

    Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36-48.

    Kolb, D. A. (1976). Management and the learning process. California Management Review8(3), 21–31.